Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty said Stephen Strasburg wasn't trying a new pitch in Thursday's bullpen session in New York.
There was the possibility, raised by manager Davey Johnson today, that the reason Strasburg came down with the irritation in his throwing arm was because he had tried a new pitch in the throwing session. Strasburg was scratched from Friday's scheduled start with right forearm tightness.
"I was standing there," McCatty said. "All pitchers play with grips all the time. When they play catch, you turn the ball a different ways, you put pressure on a finger. Whatever you do, you are messing around. That is all that he was doing. Not trying to turn it over, but just throwing a certain pitch and he didn't throw that many. Like I said, I don't know if that was it."
McCatty is not sure that adjusting grips to pitches was the definitive reason why Strasburg felt the irritation, either. It is just one possible reason.
"If he has a problem, I would like to say that is where the irritation came from," McCatty said. "But he only threw like seven or eight pitches, messing around. I don't know if that is it or not. Guys throw, they get irritation. It is unfortunate that it is him because it becomes, 'Oh my god, we landed on the moon!' That is what it was, he got some irritation. As far as I know, that's irritation."
McCatty is also not extremely concerned that this will be a problem that might linger past a week. Johnson said he believes Strasburg will make his next start, scheduled for Sept. 19.
"My level of concern?" McCatty said. "I went in and had a look at it and there is irritation. They put him on some anti-inflammatories and hopefully, (in) a day or two he will be fine.
"He goes out there and throws every day. He went out. He said he felt like he couldn't throw and couldn't get loose. We waited till afterwards, he tried it again. It didn't feel good. Nobody wants to push it."
And McCatty also shook his head to the question that Strasburg was having a "bad luck" season with rain delays, strange plays and even two balks in one inning.
"I don't know if it is a lot of things," McCatty said. "I don't attribute those things to bad luck, I attribute that to baseball. That is what our game is. Crap happens. It happens. Him having the balks, we have talked about that. We are trying to iron it out and take care of that. Having a catcher throw the ball and it hits a batter's bat, it happens. It is part of it.
"I don't say it is a lot of weird things. It is just baseball. I think for the most part a lot of games he has thrown the ball very, very well. Just like anybody else, he has had a couple of games now and then where things look really weird, and as we know, any mistake he makes is always magnified a lot more than somebody else's."